‘Gotham’ Review: “Spirit of the Goat”
FOX’s ‘Gotham’ detects its sixth installment in “Spirit of the Goat,” as a killer targeting first-borns reminds Bullock of a similar case from the past, while Gordon and Barbara deal with the ramifications of Penguin's survival.
Last week's ‘Gotham' installment "Viper" saw a new strength-enhancing drug causing chaos on the streets, while Bruce detected something amiss with the Wayne board's shady dealings, and set out to investigate, so how does FOX’s latest episode of Bat-prequel drama shine a light on the city's villainous beginnings?
Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about ‘Gotham’ episode 6, “Spirit of the Goat”!
We could spend days within a locked room, and scarcely scratch the surface of the many structural problems plaguing FOX’s ‘Gotham,’ from the conceptual inclusion of a young Bruce Wayne, to the bizarre mish-mash of tones vying for attention week after week . And yet, with an extension to 22 episodes, and the addition of yet another character expected to turn series regular in a potential second season, it becomes increasingly apparent that FOX wants to make the most of its sizable investment in a pre-Batman drama, come hell or high-water. The concept has even proven popular enough to potentially spawn a ‘Krypton’ series, so people must really love it, right?
So long as we’re to be sticking with ‘Gotham’ for another grueling 16 episodes, it benefits tonight’s “Spirit of the Goat” to delve into Detective Bullock’s backstory a bit, making use of one of the show’s stronger stars in Donal Logue. Apart from his characterization as a slovenly, lackadaisical cynic (actual words spoken by a human character),we haven’t been privy to the internal workings of a character whose corruption, to date, has acted more as comic relief than a symptom of the challenges facing the show’s titular city. Chalk that up to ‘Gotham’’s inability to pick a tone week after week, but “Spirit of the Goat” at least afforded the character some winning moments amid flashbacks to a more optimistic past.
Of course, ‘Gotham’ being ‘Gotham,’ the stronger material of Bullock caring for Dan Hedaya’s mentoring Detective Dix, or the ultimate resolution of Bullock identifying the Goat’s accomplice as a hypnotizing therapist still wind up undercut by the hour’s unnecessary, jarring interludes. Shifting focus to the unexplored works in the case of Bullock, but by the time we’ve watched Edward Nygma smell the hair of a woman named Kristen Kringle, Bruce nap through an unexplained catburgling, or Penguin get a bath from his mother, any real focus seems to have been lost in the shuffle.
Lest we forget, everyone’s least favorite character Barbara shows up to smooth things over with her fiancée, though the narrative curiously avoids any actual explanation of what Jim told her, and why she seems to believe confronting Montoya on the GCPD steps would solve anything. The only upside to shifting Gordon’s supposed crimes back to the limelight rests in yet another climactic Penguin appearance exacerbating affairs, though this is the second time ‘Gotham’ has positioned the character’s unplanned arrivals as a sort of cliffhanger to drive plots forward*. It’s nice to see ‘Gotham’ willing to sweep its slower-burning plots out of the way every so often, though given the character’s bathtime with Carol Kane, and continued role in the future of Gotham, we’re hard-pressed to imagine the writers had any real purpose in mind for Robin Taylor’s presence within the hour. It’s honestly a wonder Jada Pinkett Smith didn’t pop out from behind a wall to purr a few syllables and show herself out
*For as neatly as Penguin’s arrival manages to put to rest any lingering questions of Gordon’s guilt, the appearance also carries with it the unfortunate side effect of immediately bringing back Bullock’s sleazy, corrupt side, undermining most any of the positive character work achieved in the hour that preceded it.
As per usual, ‘Gotham’ remains a confused mish-mash of ideas, half-baked plots and clumsy foreshadowings, despite the occasional glimmers of a more cogent character piece at work. Last week’s “Viper” at least brought with it some well-balanced plotting to complement its usual array of Bat-references, though “Spirit of the Goat,” for all its attempts to grittily flesh out Detective Bullock, seems far less certain of its objective over the hour.
AND ANOTHER THING...
- If Doctor Marks looked at all familiar, you can find Susan Misner doing good work on FX's 'The Americans' for the first two seasons. Here, she seems to have a bias against the rich of Gotham city, and resolves to hypnotize patients with goat lore, making sure they know to sew a penny into their skulls to top it off. Sigh.
- Gotham's golden rule: "no heroes." Get it? Because Batman?
- Does Bruce Wayne still go to school? Even adolescent superheroes need real homework, you know.
- Why yes, I do believe that was a Queen Consolidated logo somewhere in Gotham's skyline. Let the rampant speculation begin!
Well, what say you? Did ‘Gotham’’s sixth episode “Spirit of the Goat” help set the stage any further for Batman's beginning? How do you think the prequel drama fared in its latest attempt at Batman lore? Give us your thoughts in the comments, and check back next week for our review of ‘Gotham' episode 7, "Penguin's Umbrella" on FOX!